|Also known as||Social Justice|
|Origin||Los Angeles, California|
|Genres||Rap metal, funk metal, alternative metal, rap rock, hardcore punk|
|Associated acts||Cypress Hill|
|Past members||Rey Oropeza
Brian Ares Schwager
|Basses: Fender Precision Bass, Ernie Ball Stingrays
Guitars: Gibson SG
The band's original moniker was Social Justice. They began as a hardcore punk band. They released their debut album, Unity Is Strength, in 1989 and the EP I Refuse To Lose under this name with a different lineup in 1992. They were known as being one of the first hardcore bands to incorporate hip hop and funk influences into their music.
In 1992, Social Justice (1987–92) changed their name to downset., and released the Our Suffocation demo in 1993. The album, which explored various social issues such as the death of lead singer Rey Oropeza's father at the hands of the LAPD, was praised by critics. During this transition, they changed their sound by heavily incorporating rap metal and funk metal.
In 1994, downset. signed a deal with Mercury Records, a subsidiary of Polygram Records, and released their self-titled effort in the same year. In 1994 downset began gaining popularity in Europe after touring there with Biohazard and Dog Eat Dog followed by a tour with Pantera and The Almighty later that year. In early 1995 downset. returned to Europe with Sullen for a massive headlining tour. In 1995 they also appeared at some major rock festivals throughout the continent including Roskilde and Dynamo. In 1996, the band released their most commercially successful album, Do We Speak A Dead Language?, through Mercury.
After making their departure from Mercury Records, downset. were scooped up by Epitaph Records and released their third album, Check Your People, in 2000. That same year, rumours circulated that Oropeza was to assume Rage Against the Machine's Zack de la Rocha vocalist position after Zack left. Other replacement contenders were Chris Cornell, Chuck D, and B-Real of Cypress Hill. Cornell was ultimately chosen, and Rage Against the Machine transformed into Audioslave.
After many line-up changes (most notably, the loss of longtime downset. guitar player, Rogelio Lozano, and the addition of original drummer, Chris Lee), in 2004 downset. released their last album, Universal, on independent record label Hawino Records.
Though downset. never experienced any mainstream success, and though its members came from an urban hardcore tradition rather than from metal, the band is still regarded as a noteworthy influence on the then-nascent nu metal and rap metal subgenres. In addition to headlining the second stage at Ozzfest in 1997, downset. toured with Linkin Park, Pantera, Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax, among many other prominent metal names.
downset. officially split in May 2009, claiming the band had "officially run its course".
On January 30, 2013, Downset announced a return to touring in Europe over the summer of 2013. downset. performed at Rock Al Parque in Bogota, Colombia in June of 2013 with a new lineup consisting of Rogelio Lozano on guitar, Chris Lee on drums, Neil Roemer on vocals and J.D. Manhart on bass. This same lineup embarked on a brief European tour in August of 2013 hitting several countries and performing new material. The tour was cut short due to Chris suffering a severe hernia while performing. downset also released their newest single, Forgotten, via online media outlets in July, 2013.
On April 1st 2014, downset. were announced to be playing This Is Hardcore festival in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday July 27th. This lineup consisted of different members than the current reformed downset. though. Rey, Ares, Chris Hamilton and James were announced as this line up.
On April 3rd 2014 the 2013 formation of downset. released the following statement:
- "The rumors you have heard are true, the somewhat original downset. lineup is playing “This is Hardcore” in July and will most likely play other shows to follow. To make things clear, there will not willingly be 2 versions of downset. performing as that would be ignorant for obvious reasons. While we mean no offense to other bands that coexist in this way, Rey is the face of downset. and if he has finally decided to take the wheel and drive, well, its’ his car. downset. was resurrected in 2013 with all original members invited at the time and only a couple willing and passionate enough to bring it back. So, with a new line up, this reincarnated downset. went on to tour through the summer and had a blast properly serving the fans night after night bringing that original West Coast Hardcore sound back to the fans. During and since that summer, Rey, Ares and James have decided to come back and undoubtedly kill shows like they once have. Ultimately with dismay this leaves the upcoming summer European tour up in the air. The next couple of weeks will tellingly procure details of the ‘if’ and ‘how’ of any resolution. Updates will be posted accordingly. To avoid further confusion, it must be stated that original members Rogelio Lozano and Christopher Lee are not included in the TIHC show lineup."
- Current members
- Rey Oropeza - Vocals (1992-present)
- Ares - Guitar (1992-present)
- James Morris - Bass (1992-2003, 2014-present)
- Chris Hamilton - Drums (1999-2003, 2014-present)
- Former members
- Neil Roemer - vocals (2013)
- Rogelio Lozano - guitar (1992-1994, 1999-2002, 2013)
- J.D. Manhart - bass (2013)
- Chris Lee - drums (1992-1999, 2003-2005, 2013)
- Rico Villasenor - bass guitar (2003-2005)
- Code Blue Coma (2000)
- Eyes Shut Tight EP' (Live At CBGB's) (1997)
- No More Freedom In A Cage (1996)
"Live At Foundation's Forum (1995)
- Generation Of Hope (with Shootyz Groove) (1995)
"Downset EP' (1995)
- Our Suffocation (demo) (1994)
- Forgotten (2013)
- Split with Mindbug 7 (1999)
- Empower (1996)
- Anger (1994)
- Forgotten (2013)
- downset.'s official website
- downset. homepage official reliable Lyrics and background
- downset. fan page
- Mercury Records' official website
- Epitaph Records' official website
- Supervillain James Morris current project
- Hawino Records' official website
- downset. interview
- downset. biography at Allmusic
- Check Your People review at Allmusic
- Universal review at Allmusic